Monthly talk October 2019

Water wings and souwesters were a must outside and inside St Anne’s hall. The rain and wind did not deter the hardly Babbacombe and St Marychurch folk for this evening’s talk.

Herald Express columnist Nick Pannell told us about some of our local shipwrecks, from the wreck of HMS Savage on Roundham Head in 1762 to the Santa Anna, the Panamanian-registered tanker, that ran aground on Thatcher Rock in 1998.

Thank you Nick.

The AGM and our monthly talk

Our AGM, as always, we aimed to complete the business 15 minutes.

We moved on very quickly to a talk by Colin Roulstone “A Mystery Revealed”.

Colin Roulstone is a life member of our Society, and is a well-respected local historian. However, we can’t say too much about his talk, after all ……. it was a mystery !

What was the mystery? You should have been there to hear the answer.

Guided walks.

Our guided walks around Babbacombe and St Marychurch are every Tuesday at 10.30am.  See our calendar or facebook for more details.

Meet at the bus stop near the Cliff Railway cafe there is a blue sign on the wall.

Monthly talk April 2019

For our final talk before the summer break, David Hinchliffe, one of our own members, told us all about the Torquay Historical Pageant of 1924.

Starting with the first of the modern historical pageants at Sherborne in Dorset in 1905, we heard how “pageantitis” gripped the nation, with one million people attending the Pageant of London in 1911. Torquay had to wait until 1924 to hold its own pageant, which took place at Rock End. Over 2,000 local people took part and over 25,000 spectators saw our our local history acted out, from Stone Age feuds through to the Spanish Armada and Princess Victoria’s visit to Torquay in 1833.

David concluded his talk by reminding us of the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, which he described as the latest interpretation of a historical pageant.

That is it for our talk season, we will regroup in September but in the meanwhile the guided walks start on July the 2nd.

Monthly talk March 2019

“Belgian Refugees in Devon during the Great War” by Ciaran Stoker.

In 1914 no less than 250,000 refugees fled to Britain after their country was invaded.

Devon played its part in accommodating this wave of humanity, and Ciaran told us how this was achieved, along with some of the individual stories of those times.

An exceptional, very well presented and researched talk.

Monthly talk February 2019

What a pantomime with the computers wishing not to communicate with each other? And the sound system? Well!!

Our double act of Chris Nicholls and Judith Read joined in with the fun until computers agreed to work together

James Charles Dinham and Isabella Cowan were the subjects for this evening.

James Dinham was a noted Torquay photographer who captured ordinary people going about their lives in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Isabella Cowan was a Canadian visitor in 1895, and we heard readings from her, “Aunt Belle’s Diaries” to complement the photographs. Her observations of Torquay at the time were quite contemporary.

A very enjoyable evening. Thank you
Chris Nicholls and Judith Read

Monthly talk January 2019


Thank heavens we didn’t have to suffer the work houses.


A crowded St Anne’s Hall heard of the misery and monetary cost living in one.


A very well researched talk by our speaker John Ellis.


Monthly Talk November 2018

The crowds turned out on a foggy night for a spooky tale or two.


Did you know more people believe in ghosts in Torquay than any other area?  Dr Kevin Dixon told us “An Unnatural History of Torquay’s Ghosts”.  A fun and interactive evening.


Kevin’s visits to St Anne’s Hall are so very well received, he will return by popular request sometime next year.



Monthly Talk October 2018


Well what a turn out for this evenings talk by Phil Badcott.

“The Gilberts of Compton Castle” told us about the family that occupied this romantic house, just outside Torquay.


An amusing well presented evening.  Little wonder Phil is a highly regarded researcher and speaker.


Monthly Talk and AGM September 2018

Not quite our shortest AGM at fourteen and a half minutes, but business was done and dusted ready for Rolf Soderlind.


“An Unsound Mind” is a novella written by Rolf Soderlind.  Rolf appeared to be a little taken aback by the large audience in attendance.  His talk and book is based upon events that took place in 1933 in the house that is now his home.


“An Unsound Mind” is available from Rolf and Amazon and is a gripping tale.  Best of all you will recognise all the places in the book.